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How small can a computer get?

Don Parsons / October 17, 2014 at 8:28 PM / News, Technology

It’s a question that’s been asked more and more these days with a world of tiny phones, tablets and other mobile devices. Miniaturization is the order of the day when it comes to electronics – how small can you get something and still have it be worthwhile?

Shenzen Apec Electronics appears to have endeavored to discover that limit and their answer turned out to be… the size of your thumb. Or to be more precise – a thumb drive. It wasn’t that long ago in general terms (which makes it about half an eon in computer terms) that USB drives were new for moving information and the hottest thing about. In the same amount of space though, it is now possible to store a whole computer there – processor, ram and everything.

The APM-D01 comes with a Bay Trail-T Quad Core Atom Z3735F 32 bit processor with 1 GB of DDR3 Ram, 16 GB of hard drive space, 802.11b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4, and a Micro SD slot for further improvement. The Hard Drive can be upgraded to 32gb, and it has 2 micro USB ports and 1 full sized USB port. There is no base operating system but it can work with Windows, Linux, Android or any other operating system that is Atom-friendly.

Weighting in at 1.6 ounces this computer sports specifications similar to the newer windows $65 tablets but, perhaps due to size, can be found sold at a higher price. AliExpress, a wholesaler, is selling it at $110 right now, including operating system of choice, plus shipping. Prices for the upgrade to 32 gb are not known at this time.

A more powerful version of it is potentially also available. Running with an Atom Z3735G, it has 2 GB of ram and can run 64-bit software making it notably more powerful. However, at this time there doesn’t seem to be any price for it available right now, either.

It does further raise the question of what exactly is a windows PC. Previously, that’s been thought of as a full blown one such as a desktop or laptop but the device here has the capabilities of a low-end computer and can just be plugged into an usb port to run. How long is it till the idea of a full blown desktop is an antiquity of the past like those full room computers we see in the past?

There’s no clear answer to that, but miniaturization is marching on.

 

Sources:

Liliputing: http://liliputing.com/2014/10/windows-compatible-hdmi-tv-stick-intel-bay-trail-cpu.html

Shenzhen Apec: http://www.szapec.com/default.asp?id=1793

Geek.com: http://www.geek.com/chips/this-isnt-a-thumbdrive-its-a-pc-that-weighs-less-than-2-ounces-and-works-in-any-hdmi-port-1607124/


Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.